POSTED: March 16th 2014

PyeongChang 2018 takes the Paralympic Flag in a moving tribute to disabled sport

Korean artist Seok Chang-woo painted athlete figurines with his prosthetic arms
Korean artist Seok Chang-woo painted athlete figurines with his prosthetic arms

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) The next time the Paralympic world unites for the Games it will be on March 9th of 2018 in the alpine Korean town PyeongChang that will host the Winter Olympics.

During the protocol segment of the Sochi 2014 Closing Ceremony, PyeongChang Mayor, Lee Seok-rae, took the customary passing of the baton from Sochi Mayor, Anatoly Pakhomov, and this marked the second and the last time Lee would take the challenge on stage.  

The cultural segment took a dramatic turn under the theme of "Together on the Journey" a story about South Korea, the harmony and unity of PyeongChang. Then the crowd got to have a sneak peak at PyeongChang through a video that highlighted the two clusters where the Games will be held.

Korean artist Seok Chang-woo took a stage simulating a snowy field and, amazingly with prosthetic arms, started drawing the hopes and dreams of the athletes that will eventually be fulfilled in PyeongChang. The illustrated dream emerged as a young girl sang and wheelchair dancers swirled around the stage.

The performers were impaired and not impaired and included opera singers Choi Seungwon (from Gangneung, ice venue city), Cha Myung-yun (visually-impaired), classical musician Song So-hee, sports dancer Kim Hong-in (hearing-impaired), wheelchair performer Kim Nam-jae and vocalists Lee A-reum (visually-impared) and Park Jae-jung.

The Gangwon Performing Arts Company, the Korean local provincial performing arts group that animated PyeongChang House and posed with visitors for photos all during the Olympics and the Paralympics were also front and center in the ceremony.  

The director of the PyeongChang 2018 cultural program was Yoon Ho-jin who was also in charge of the Olympic Handover segment in the Games’ Closing Ceremony. He was accompanied by choreography director Kim Yeong-ju, music director Cho Yong-wook, costume director Lim Seon-ok, art director LIM Chung-il and video director Bae Il-hwan. 

The brief cultural program wound up with the PyeongChang theme song 'Dream of PyeongChang' sung by soprano Cha Myung-yun, who overcame her visual impairment to become a singer. She was joined by Lee A-reum, another visually impaired vocalist, and Park  Jae-jung, who was the winner of the 2013 Superstar K5 competition, as well as the Gangneung Boy's and Girl's Choir.

The Sochi 2014 Closing Ceremony clearly sent a message that the ‘impossible is possible’ when Alexey Chuvashev, wheelchair athlete and medal winner of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, took the stage. Then using only his hands he climbed a 15 meter rope to adjust the floating word "IMPOSSIBLE" that was hanging high in the stadium to "I" and "M", making it read “I’M POSSIBLE” and inspiring everyone that this was the real heart and soul of the Paralympic Games.

And all things will be possible when the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games take place during  9-18 March 2018 with approximately 50 countries and 690 athletes competing in the five sports on the program.

Keywords · Paralympics · PyeongChang 2018 · Sochi 2014

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